Artist Statement – or what my work is about….

This page relates to my work using the House form. I work mainly in porcelain paper clay, but sometimes terracotta, wire, paper and  fabric, if the materials express the concept I am trying to work with in a better way…

Porcelain Houses

ADVERSARIA ;   Ad`ver*sa”ri*a\, n. pl. [L. adversaria (sc. scripta), neut. pl. of adversarius.] A miscellaneous collection of notes, remarks, or selections; a commonplace book; also, commentaries or notes. .

The house is seen as emotional architecture, a metaphor for security and permanence, but in reality it is a shell, accommodating and absorbing the many lives lived within. People link experiences, memories, relationships, to a specific place. We need to recognise ourselves as related to somewhere. I think a place is needed for something to become a memory. The act of moving house repeatedly from early childhood has left fragments of memories, areas where the stories of others have overlapped and become entwined with my own.

The houses have been hand-printed using traditional printmaking techniques on the non traditional surface of Porcelain Paperclay, they are variously embossed into the clay or etched in cobalt, in the narrative language of ceramics. I have used pulped 1960”s school books as the paper content, which is burnt away when the porcelain is fired. The houses are printed with fragments of text and pattern, like shards of a larger story which can be read, but never fully deciphered. There is a duality in my practice; I use a formal abstracted language with hand mediating to give a personal aesthetic. I am quietly exploring the ideas of alchemy (turning a liquid into a solid with the use of fire), and subversion (book burning), as well as the major ideas of place and memory.

As I have watched people interact with the houses, and heard their stories of moving and staying, I realised that my work connected to others, in a way I hadn’t fully expected. I work in a quiet, poetic way, gathering fleeting memories and small thoughts, to tell a larger human and deeply personal story.

Terracotta Houses

I have been exploring ideas around house and home for many years. The house form is almost culturally transcendent, suggesting security and permanence, a container for our lives. The multiplying effects of taking one house and expanding it into a suburb though, moves the form from personal freedoms into suburban codification.

In this work  ” 1m2 ” I have used red brick clay, a material commonly associated with housing. The glaze at first suggesting a commonality is shown on closer inspection to be cracked. The house form scaled metaphorically, like Cuisenaire rods, one form standing in for many. The houses assembled in a regimented grid layout on a grassed lawn, becoming an unrelenting army encroaching into the landscape.

Shadow Self Houses


In this small Sculpture I have placed my house forms in a domestic realm,  I have hidden a gilded porcelain house, honed to an imperfect but contained form at its center. Covered, but still visible, by a felt house, that blanket of comfort  we want to give our lives. This is contained within a metal exoskeleton, the seemingly rigid persona, we project to others.The dichotomy of want we Want to do and what we Have to do….




4 thoughts on “Artist Statement – or what my work is about….

  1. A very interesting Blog Txtilegrl.
    The fact that I live in Alabama, USA and you are in New Zeland makes it even more interesting and I see our ways of our wording are quite different so it gives me a new perspective of thoughts. Thanks for following me! It gave me an incentive to start blogging again . This year , I will have much more exciting things to write about.
    Laura Scott / octoscott10

    1. Thanks Laura,
      That is exactly what I love about blogs….you get to read the thoughts and ideas of people from all over the world ,whom you would normally never even know about. I am looking forward to your next interesting post. J

      1. Thank you, as i am just begining to get into this project myself. . I did have a question? When you refer to the word ” house” it sounds as if you are writing about a living , breathing thing?! In your first line you state that it is emotional and a metaphore for security. Im only tring to understand the use of ” house” correctly. Here in the US , speaking personally, i can recall saying ” if i could marry this house i would marry and make love to it!” Lol That is really loving your house so i can see that i guess i did condider it a living, breathing thing. Am i anywhere close to the meaning as you meant it to be told?! As a reader, i admire your work , it is so thought provoking and deep! Hope i got it right?! Yes, we are oceans away and my understanding may be different , but thats the fun of it! Looking forward to your next blog . You have inspired me not to quit! Thanks!

      2. Hi Octoscott10. Wow , what a great question, I have had to really think about this.
        When I started this work I used the word “house” to denote a space you lived in but were not emotionally connected to, and the word ” home” as a place you fully inhabit and feel connected to. Now , as the work has progressed over several years the words House and Home have become a lot more fluid.
        Most cultures draw a house form as 2 sides, a sloped roof, 2 windows or a door, similarly children automatically draw this form in their early drawings. By making this form I wanted to connect with people in a subconscious way. We all have stories of the homes we have lived. The marks on the door frame where children’s heights are measured. The rooms we ran through, the windows we climbed out. We also have the marks of living in a house, the traces of being rich or poor, bullied or secure, the secrets or love, and these personal feelings overlay onto the impersonal structure of the house. So in this way .yes…. it is a living thing. Thanks for asking that question as I had to put thoughts into words, and that always helps clarify what you are thinking and making. J

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